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  • After an onslaught of mass murder in PSYCHO III, Norman Bates is a nice suburban home, with a lovely wife, and a new problem. He has to kill again.

    Norman Bates, once again played excellently by the late, great and highly-talented Anthony Perkins, calls in to a radio talk-back show, where the topic of the night is matricide. Norman relives his past, and through these flashbacks we finally meet "Mother" -- played wonderfully by Olivia Hussey (man, she is SCARY!).

    This film is a delightful surprise....there's not much bad to say about it. Henry Thomas captures "young Norman Bates" nicely, though I remember Norman Bates as being a bit more polite and friendly than portrayed here....but he still pulls off a good job as a mentally-abused and opressed psychopath in the makings.

    Be aware, that this is not appropriate for anyone under the age of 15. No, it isn't "shocking," but there are strong incestual undertones. They are necassary, however, because they give more valid reasons for Norman's descent into sick obsession, rather than "He had a domineering mother," which we've all known for years.

    PSYCHO IV has alot of character as a film, and is hard to forget. Perhaps the best sequel of the three.

    Highly Recommended.
  • My father first rented this film in the summer of 1991. I was about ten years old when I watched it. I didn't understand most of it, but I liked it. I just re-watched it within the last few months as result of a sparked interest in both the movies and the books.

    I liked how this film dove into Norman Bates's troubled past (that of course is an understatement). That was probably the best aspect of the film, not much else. I liked how Anthony Perkins once again reprised his signature role as Norman Bates after suffering that horrid humiliation from Psycho III. Olivia Hussey was wicked in this movie as Norman's mother. She must have taken lessons from Faye Dunaway in her role as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. The way she yelled at him and stripped poor Norman of his manhood was just awful. But yet, she managed to stay human in certain scenes of the movie and not be such a demon. Henry Thomas did somewhat a good job playing Norman Bates as a teenager, but his performance lacked the geeky, child-like charm that Anthony Perkins had in the original film.

    As for the rest of the actors, well, most of them aren't worth mentioning. Except for Thomas Schuster, who played Chet Rudolph, Norma Bates's midnight cowboy. His character was very cocky and rude, the kind of guy you love to hate. The kind of man mom would bring home and expect you to call dad, which in Norman's case was true. But that never came to pass, if you know the story line.

    Director Mick Garris is no Alfred Hitchcock. He is no Richard Franklin either. But he does manage to deliver a good addition to the Psycho series. Not as good as Psycho or Psycho II, but good enough.
  • If you liked the earlier sequels (with of course, the first one being inimitable) you may find this entertaining.

    Tony Perkins seems deranged as ever, and there are some interesting conversations between him and CCH Pounder, (a radio shrink) as she tries to uncover what made Norman Bates the way he is...nature or nurture?... It may be genetic, but it could also have been his mother played by Olivia Hussey, a deranged woman who has an inappropriate relationship with her son.

    Henry Thomas ("E.T." and "Beyond Obesession", among others) is sad and affecting as the young Norman Bates, who tries to be a good son to his mother, until she realizes he has become a man, wherein she begins to flip out.

    Overall, for die-hard fans of the "Psycho" sequels.
  • I first watched "Psycho IV" when I rented it on the early 90's. I was a big fan of Psycho II and I respected Psycho. Psycho III was a big disappointment so I thought that part IV would be at least, a decent slasher.

    This pre-quel is not as bad as you may think. It explores Norman's origins and tries to reach a conclusion about his personality. To me, it worked. Norman is not the villain anymore and the director makes sure about that because he displays a victimized, sick Norman.

    The ending is a perfect way to end the Psycho series which were far from being bad. Part II is excellent, unlike Part III which is a boring slasher flick. Part IV deserves the watch for it's ending and because it's Anthony Perkins' last hurrah as Norman Bates.
  • Christmas-Reviewer10 February 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    I liked to see anything Perkins is in. This movie has holes bigger than "The Grand Canyon". If your a "Psycho Fan" then you will notice the holes. The movie is a bore when Anthony Perkins is not on screen. I think that story for "Psycho IV" that Anthony Perkins came up with (but the studio passed on) would of been much better. ( Norman escapes and now is killing people again at the Bates Motel at a weekend of horrors show). I read the book about Anthony Perkins and I had a new-found respect for this movie. This was a made for Cable TV Movie (SHOWTIME). I think if they would of spent a little more money and came up with a better ending this might of been a great Swan Song to Norman Bates.
  • For those who like to nitpick, there are tons of continuity problems in this film from what was established in the other films. As a fan of the series, I noticed many of them myself during the first viewing. But if you look past all that, this truly is a fantastic film. More of a sequel to the original than to "Psycho III" (although they sort-of mention the last one), we get the backstory on Norma Bates -- the overbearing mother that drove her son insane. Told through flashback sequences while Norman is reminiscing to a radio-show host, this film delved into the mind of the man who's remembered as a monster and made him more of a sympathetic character -- though I think everyone who likes the series already took sympathy on the poor man. And we finally get to see what makes a madman mad....

    Perkins, as always, was in top form playing the character that killed his career. Olivia Hussey was brilliant in the role of Norma. Hussey's performance was riveting -- kind and loving one moment, cruel and loathing the next -- a schizophrenic delight to watch. Henry Thomas did a wonderful job playing the young Norman, showing what the character was like before he went totally over the edge. And CCH Pounder as the radio-host with a heart gives a fantastic performance as the woman who knew what was going on but was helpless to do anything about it....

    Now on to the gripes that people keep bringing up.... Yes, there are inconsistancies with events as they were described in the other films. But he's on a radio show -- does anyone who knows they're on the radio really tell the whole truth? Olivia Hussey has gotten flack for her accent -- though they never really say anywhere that she's American. Granted, the woman who played her sister in II & III didn't have an accent, but she's not really mentioned here.... And Henry Thomas has gotten reamed for not acting enough like Perkins did in the original -- but the first film took place after the events that occurred in this one. People do change and by the time the first film took place, he was totally off the deep end. If you forget about II & III and don't mind the incest themes, this is a wonderful sequel.

    Finally, why isn't this one on DVD yet? The other three films have been on DVD for a while, including the cropped-screen release of III. I'd like to replace my crummy Goodtimes Video VHS....
  • In this the last movie of the Psycho series, Norman has flashbacks to his youth and the circumstances that made him the man he became. There is a sort of bittersweet nostalgia to the memories and the circumstances as well as some loopholes in the continuity. A bathroom appears in mother's room where one never was and the fight scene takes away from the fact that Mrs. Bates and her lover were believed to have poisoned themselves in bed. I guess Norman could have dragged them back up there, but then you'd think that the police at the time would have found evidence of tampering with the murder scene. Well, this is a small town; they wouldn't have expected such a grandiose plot from such a then expected "nice young man." Olivia Hussey does a good job portraying the shrewish and demented Norma Bates and Henry Thomas of E.T. fame forgets that role to emote Perkins as Bates from the first movie. Putting an end to the Bates legacy sends Norman tripping through memories of his infamous past as the ghosts of his victims come to haunt him, but the ghost of Marion Crane herself is conspicuously absent as it was her who started the series by stealing his boss's money. Otherwise, this is a great end to one of Hollywood's most memorable move series.
  • Psycho IV: The Beginning was an enjoyable movie in my opinion. I really loved the character Fran Ambrose and CCH Pounder's performance. This film is quite disturbing at times, but I think it's a nice touch. I just don't understand why this film was made only for cable. It was decent, and far above average for a made for TV/straight to video film. As with all sequels, this film does seem to have some plot holes and continuity errors, but it is, in general a decent sequel to Hitchcock's masterpiece. I think that Psycho II was the best sequel in the series, but I like Psycho III and IV the same. They are all great films. Also this film is nowhere near as violent or bloody as Psycho III.

    A great TV movie. With a few minor changes, you wouldn't know that this was made for TV!!

    Highly recommended!
  • So this is the first time we get someone else being Norman Bates. One of the most recognizable character names of all times. And while Perkins does reprise his role, there is a younger version in flashbacks here. And while maybe today they would have just CGI-ed Perkins and made him look younger, back in 1990 the technology wasn't there - which led to a young man being able to act in one of the most iconic and I guess disturbing roles out there.

    Now Beginnings are always tough to sell. Most viewers do not care or need motivations for disturbed personalities. So to sell this is quite tough. The fact that it ignores the other sequels does not make it easier to access either. Maybe this is the weakest entry (when it comes to the ones Perkins was involved in), but it still is quite interesting if you allow yourself to be enarmoured by the movie and its backstory. Nicely told overall, with really good performances. Maybe if it wasn't Norman this was about, it would have been better received?
  • Psycho IV is a continuation of the Bates Family history. For the most part it's a prequel to the original 1960 film. I was always kind of turned off to this one because I feel they added way too much story to the original film as each sequel came out. Psycho II introduces us to Mrs. Spool who was really Norman's mother. But then Psycho III tells us, no, Spool was just a crazy aunt of Norman's. Now Part 4 adds so much to Norman's childhood that really makes it puzzling to follow any sort of true time line or plot line. We discover in this one that Norman's mother was truly sick, more sick then we could've imagined. It's alluded to in the other sequels that Norman had a "twisted" relationship with mother, but part IV goes into explicit detail as to how twisted it really was. The story is well done in part 4, but for the most part it's kind of pointless. Did we really need to see Norman have that sort of relationship with his parent? Probably not.

    We get to see Norman functioning like a normal person. He has a new house and a wife. It's him calling into a radio show to tell his life story that causes him to become unhinged. Anthony Perkins and Olivia Hussey save this movie from being a total letdown. Their performances are top notch. Psycho IV doesn't go overboard with blood, we only see Norman kill I think one or two people in his flashback to growing up. I did like that the makers of this one added to the fact that Norman did kill people before Marion Crane was attacked in the famous shower scene. I liked those scenes with the teenage "Norman". It adds to the scene at the end of the first Psycho where the psychiatrist asks if there were any missing reports on girls in the area. It alluded to the idea Norman killed before, and I like that Psycho IV explores that.

    Psycho IV is a prequel to the 1960 film, and adds a lot to the already twisted back story of the Bates clan. It's a good watch, but the ending is pretty weak. Only true "Psycho" fans interested in the back story of Norman will like this one. There aren't many murders committed in IV like in the second and third sequels.

  • This movie is excellent as far as content goes. Many things that were unexplained in the original are dealt with, and not in a way that seems ridiculous. All that happens in part IV could conceivably have happened, so that's good.

    Anthony Perkins does a wonderful job of recapturing the essence of the disturbed Norman Bates, and Henry Thomas is very believable as young Norman. His performance completely illustrates the up-bringing of Norman by his unstable mother.

    Good supplement to the original, I thought.
  • MJM52266 February 2004
    I find it amazing that Joseph Stefano, who wrote the screenplay, seemed to have forgotten EVERYTHING he wrote in the original Psycho screenplay in 1960.

    Yes, this movie is interesting by itself. But no self-respecting Psycho-phile such as myself would ever find it satisfying, and it makes me cringe when I hear people say it's their "favorite sequel." It's full of so many plotholes and inconsistencies that the filmmakers oughta be stabbed in the shower!!

    First of all, when did Mother Bates become this voluptuous vixen?? Weren't we led to believe in the original movie (and it's 2 subsequent sequels) that Mother was a crotchety old woman? Even in Psycho III, Norman defends her "actions" by saying, "She's just an old lady -- a sick old lady." Oh? Olivia Hussey sure looks pretty young and virile to me!

    At the beginning, Norman says his father died when he was six. WRONG! In the original, he said he was five. Are we to assume he is/was lying? Then he goes on to explain that his father died from bee stings. Oh, is THAT how Norman's aunt "killed him in a jealous rage" as was revealed in Psycho III? Both explanations are pretty silly anyway.

    In the original, Norman tells Marion that his mother's boyfriend (later revealed as "Chet" in this movie) talked her into building the motel. But in Part IV, the motel is already up and doing great business by the time Chet shows up!!!

    And where the heck did the bathroom and closet in Mother's room come from??

    And if Norman was really trying to "be" his mother, why did he put on the ugly old granny wig they buried her in?? According to this movie, his fondest memory of her was her "light-years long" brown hair!

    Helloooo??? Mr. Stefano, were you SLEEPING when you wrote this screenplay?? Did you not even bother to go back and look over the original before you started?? Did you not think anyone would NOTICE??

    Just a dumb, dumb, dumb movie. Once again, as he has done so many times before, Anthony Perkins single-handedly saves it from being *totally* unwatchable.
  • 23skidoo-421 August 2001
    Psycho IV was the swan song for America's favorite nutcase, as Anthony Perkins died of AIDS complications only a year or so after making it. But the character goes out in style.

    In many ways it appears this film ignores the events of Psycho II and III in favor of a "where is he now" story which leads into a flashback that in part explains why Norman went crazy.

    Tony Perkins gives a sympathetic performance as Norman. You actually feel sorry for him, particularly at the end (which I won't give away). Has he reformed? Is he still crazy?

    Olivia Hussey, meanwhile, is marvelous as his insane mother. She's still one of the most underappreciated actresses in movies today, and there's a scene of her standing in a downpour in which she looks exactly like she did when she played Juliet back in 1968. Her scenes with Henry Thomas are full of tension -- including sexual tension, making much of this film an uncomfortable viewing experience. But you don't watch a Psycho movie to relax, do you? Argentine-born, British-raised Hussey also has one of the sexiest voices ever put on film -- although it's a bit odd hearing a midwestern woman having a British accent.

    The rest of the supporting cast is also good, especially CCH Pounder as a talk radio host who attracts the attention of Norman.

    My only real disappointment is they should have shot the flashbacks in black and white, as several scenes intentionally reflect the original film (Norman spies on his mother making love using the famous peep hole and also stabs a girl in much the same way (music included) that he killed Janet Leigh in the original film).

    A fitting send off for one of the most terrifying characters in cinema history. I must go now ... my mother is calling me.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Anthony Perkins played Norman Bates for the last and final time. He died the following year of AIDS related illness. In this film, Norman Bates has married a nurse, Connie, and they're having a baby. Olivia Hussey played Norma Bates in flashback. Henry Thomas did a terrific job in playing a young Norman Bates. Norman calls a radio call-in-show, Dr. Fran Ambrose, where he confesses and reveals his past to C.C.H. Pounder in the role. The film returns to the Bates house where it all began. The older Norman revealed the truths about his relationship with his mother. A woman he loved and hated at once. Olivia Hussey is memorable as the mother in the film. The film is in the last of the Psycho series besides Bates Motel. In the end, audiences couldn't get enough of Tony Perkins and Psycho. An actor like Tony Perkins is sorely missed today even decades later.
  • This last sequel is actually a prequel. Anthony Perkins in his last moments and remaining years gives his last performance as Norman Bates. His sickness didn't spoil the movie, however, at the end it wasn't exactly a grand finale worthy of the original. Instead the movie seems to be expecting yet another sequel which will never be. Watch this made for cable movie if you want to know the whole story.
  • As a big fan of Psycho, I thought this movie was something of a return to the spirit of the original...sick sexual frustrations and creepy psychological tension. Be warned that there is an incest theme in the picture.

    A clever, modern explanation for Norman's brand of psychosis.
  • An interesting and quite psychologically accurate telling of how Norman Bates became the world's most famous momma's boy. Henry Thomas was a good choice for young Norman. Olivia Hussey is VERY good as Mama Bates. Her reactions to Norman created an atmosphere for his schizophrenia to fester: the scene where she tickles him at his father's funeral is a good example. When he quite rightly giggles, she slaps him, even though she provoked it. Young Norman grew up not knowing how to react to situations. Plus the great love and fear for his mother laid the groundwork for his psychosis. It's really pretty good.
  • Like so many other reviews of this movie, I have to preface this by saying that "PSYCHO IV" is not a great film...however, it is the best of the PSYCHO spinoff-sequels.

    Featuring excellent performances by Olivia Hussey (as "Mother") as well as CCH Pounder -- formerly an underused character actor, now notable for her performance on TV's "THE SHIELD" -- (as talk show host Fran Ambrose) -- "PSYCHO IV" sticks pretty closely to the original story from Robert Bloch's novel and the original "PSYCHO" film as license to delve into Norman Bates' troubled childhood, prequel-style (Joseph Stefano, who wrote the screenplay to the original film, penned the script for this one, is evidently largely responsible for this).

    First, Olivia Hussey.

    When I first heard about this movie, I was skeptical that "Mother" could be portrayed on screen, especially by Hussey, primarily notable for her onscreen/dramatic turn as Juliet in the classic Franco Zeffirelli film adaptation of "ROMEO & JULIET." However, and to abbreviate my feelings for her in this role, she hit the nail on the head.

    Secondly, CCH Pounder.

    CCH's turn as Fran Ambrose really carries this movie. The scenes during Norman's on-air confessional are easily the most compelling, and, while not taking away from Anthony Perkins' finely-honed portrayal of Norman's insanity, this is mostly due to Fran Ambrose's subtle (and not-so-subtle) reactions.

    Of course, there are numerous moments in the movie that detract from all these positives. The ending is just weak (I usually stop the tape as soon as Norman hangs up on Fran for the final time). Additionally, there is an altogether jolting cameo by John Landis (as the radio station's programming director) which usually distracts me, and not to mention the girl who "just wants to have sex" with Norman (c'mon, fellas...."you'd like to touch them...wouldn't you?").

    All in all, I'd rather watch this movie than any of the other "PSYCHO" sequels any day. It's *reasonably* intelligent, it's got an altogether perfect cast, and it sticks to the story at hand. Definitely recommended.
  • The Creeper2 December 2001
    I Love It. At last we get to go back where It All Started. For Years I Had Always Wished I Could Find out what happened before Psycho. Know We Know. I Also Like This Film because we Can Understand Norman More. Know why he Commits such Devious Crimes. I Also Had been Waiting to "Meet" Mother. A Must Have For All Psycho Fans.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If you have ever wondered what really happened to Norman's mother, Psycho IV gives you the opportunity to discover the truth! We can now have a grisly insight into how young Norman (Henry Thomas) came to commit the ultimate crime - matricide. But the film doesn't stop there - it also brings us bang up to date with Norman apparently plotting yet another horrifying murder. Anthony Perkins reprises his role as the adult Norman with Olivia Hussey starring as the catalytic Norma Bates.

    A Smart Money Production Anthony Perkins Psycho IV The Beginning Olivia Hussey and Henry Thomas As Young Norman Bates Produced by George Zaloom and Les Mayfield Executive Producer Hilaton A. Green Written by Joseph Stefano Based Upon Characters Crested by Robert Bloch Directed by Mick Garris

    Copyright 1990 by MTE, Inc. All Rights reserved. Running Time Approx. 92 minutes. Colour HiFi Stereo Certification 18's

    Trivia: Premiering on The SHOWTIME Channel Network in America and receiving some special limited cinematic releases overseas's, before it was shown on TV, it was introduced by ex-shower victim form the original 1960 shocker - Janet Leigh Curtis.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this movie when I rented it on DVD and I liked it a lot. I love everything connected with Psycho, so this movie really appealed to me.

    Lots of people don't like the plot in the present day, with Norman and Connie, but I think it was very good. The only thing I found a bit strange was how easily Connie fell into Norman's arms a few seconds after he was about to knife her to death. Apart from that though, I liked that part, and also the part where he burns the house down.

    I really liked the flashbacks with young Norman Bates, it really showed what his relationship with his (alive!) mother was like. She was really horrible, and also that stupid boyfriend of hers was even worse.

    Anyway, this was a really good addition to the Psycho series, and even though no one can beat Hitchcock's masterpiece, this one was sufficient and watched with interest.

  • I started not to watch this movie, but didn't get up to change channels once I saw the ever-talented C.C. Pounder as the radio host. I have long admired Tony Perkins since I saw him years ago in "Phaedra" with Melina Mercouri. I also saw the original "Psycho" and the unnecessary remake with Anne Heche and Vince Vaughan.

    The movie was rather interesting because of the premise. Many people probably wondered why Norman Bates turned out the way he did. This movie explains it, sort of. Incest always disturbs me and I felt very uneasy during those scenes between mother and son. What a fool Mrs. Bates was to ignore the fact that her son was maturing and that his sexual awakening was inevitable. Olivia Hussey was appropriately weird as the mother and Henry Thomas was astounding as young Norman. I had never seen him before, but hope to see more of him in the future.

    C.C. Pounder turned in another sterling performance, as expected, but John Landis showed that he's no Sidney Pollack, shifting from director to actor, giving an amatuerish, high school calibre performance.

    Anthony Perkins probably consented to do this because he is so closely associated with the "Psycho" legend and wanted this to be apart of it. His performance was first rate.

    Now, let's keep an eye out for HENRY THOMAS. He has the stuff to become a big star.
  • Another part to the Psycho films. Thankfully, again, starring Anthony Perkins as troubled Norman Bates. This time he goes by the name of Ed to call into a radio show about boys who murder their mothers. In this part we get to see why Norman is the way he is. We see Norman murdering young women and commiting incestuous acts with his mother. Henry Thomas does a great job playing young Norman Bates, he acts just like Anthony Perkins does in the first part of the series. When Norman calls into the radio show he tells the host that he has to kill his wife because she is pregnant with his child. Norman believes that the child will be crazy and murderous like he was. In the end Norman Bates destroys his past by burning down his old house. This film is still great even though it doesn't really go along with what we learn in the first film. In Psycho III we learn that Norman's mother is not Mrs. Spool from part 2 but it is actually Mrs. Bates and Mrs. Spool just wanted to take Norman because she believed that it was Norman's father and Mrs. Spool's child-- it's a bit confusing at times but this part of the series clears up all questions. Psycho IV: The Beginning was aired in 1990 on HBO or Showtime (I can't exactly remember). But, it doesn't matter, Psycho IV: The Beginning is a wonderful film and a great part to the wonderful series. Psycho IV: The Beginning gets a well deserved 10 out of 10, the series also get a well deserved 10 out of 10. The Psycho films are the greatest series, I have yet to find something that beats them.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    *small spoiler* I saw this movie last night, and despite all of the bad reviews, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It portrayed Norman bates as a sympathetic character, and showed what it was that led him to this point, something that I am sure that everyone that has ever watched the movie has wondered. It had a huge internal conflict in it, would Norman kill again?I rate this movie a 9/10, because while there were some small inconsistencies with other movies, it was an entertaining, enjoyable, and intriguing watch.
  • Psycho IV is a superb piece of story telling. Joseph Stephano has returned as writer for this half prequel half sequel and does a wonderful job of making us once again love our tragic hero, Norman Bates. Anthony Perkins of course is absolute perfection as Norman and through his performace we once again return to his world and finally get a view at his childhood and see what experiences made him into what he became. 8 out of ten for this movie its a wonderful film and should be seen by any fan of Anthony Perkins acting. Also anyone curious to see an excellent psychological film should check it out.
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